Sharing a stage with Hillary Clinton for the first time, Donald Trump insisted again that he didn’t support the war in Iraq.
The problem? He did.
“I happen to hear Hillary Clinton say that I was not against the war on Iraq,” Trump told moderator Matt Lauer. “I was totally against the war on Iraq.”
Trump cited an interview with Esquire magazine in 2004 (the war started in 2003) and statements “before that” as evidence.
But as Buzzfeed has previously noted, Trump told Howard Stern in 2002 that he was in favor of the Iraq War.
During a radio interview, Stern asked Trump, “Are you for invading Iraq?”
Trump answered, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Trump and Clinton appeared separately at the forum, which was organized by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and broadcast on NBC and MSNBC. Since the candidates never met face-to-face, the event felt like a dress rehearsal of sorts ahead of the presidential debates, the first of which will be later this month.
Clinton took the stage first, and, as Trump noted, called him out on his support of the Iraq invasion, which she also supported. During the campaign, however, Trump has pointed to his opposition to the invasion as an example of his good judgment.
Clinton’s campaign was quick to call out Trump on lying when he said he opposed the war all along. So did many critics on Twitter.
Lauer, however, did not call out the Donald — which led many Clinton supporters on Twitter to chastise him for letting the Republican get away with a lie.
“Donald Trump is lying about opposing the Iraq War before it happened. Here’s proof,” tweeted Vox, along with a link to an article.
“I hate media-on-media violence, but Trump’s support for the invasion of Iraq has been…rather well documented. No Lauer follow-up?” quipped one Twitter user.
“Matt Lauer Lets Trump Lie About Opposing Iraq War During Commander-In-Chief Forum,” railed another.
Lauer also asked whether her use of a private email server showed a lack of judgment. “I make no excuses for it,” she said.
But Clinton insisted “there is no evidence that my system was hacked,” but pointed out that other government servers have been breached.
Here are some Twitter reactions to the forum:
— Vox (@voxdotcom) September 8, 2016
— Claudia Crosland (@Claudie4) September 8, 2016
16 Times The Media Let Trump Falsely Claim He Opposed The Iraq War From The Beginning https://t.co/aVb2vvfHyN
— Carol Silver (@Teach3ca) September 8, 2016
Matt Lauer Lets Trump Lie About Opposing Iraq War During Commander-In-Chief Forum https://t.co/HS7rfmmwPN
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 8, 2016
"I was totally against the war in Iraq," Trump says, saying something that is not true. Matt Lauer offers no follow up.
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) September 8, 2016
Trump repeats that he was against the Iraq war from the outset.
That is not true.
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) September 8, 2016
.@NBCNews it is irresponsible to allow Trump to go on a 60 second rant about a military intervention that he supported w/o clarifying.
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) September 8, 2016
— Catholic Democrats (@CatholicDems) September 8, 2016
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) September 8, 2016
Rachel Maddow better drag Lauer to the pits of hell for his piss-poor performance in her follow-up to this thing. #NBCNewsForum
— Adam (@adamjmoussa) September 8, 2016
Lauer, you're a disappointment.#NBCNewsForum
— Patrick DiJusto (@patrickdijusto) September 8, 2016
#NBCNewsForum Matt Lauer held Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire; he's not even holding Donald Trump's little hands to the truth.
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) September 8, 2016